The New Version of Scrabble on Facebook (2013) - the controversial changes

The new version of Scrabble for Facebook (2013). A game in progress
The new version of Scrabble for Facebook (2013). A game in progress | Source

The new version of Scrabble for Facebook was rolled out in early summer 2013. Although the rules and basic principle of the game remain the same, the game is set up quite differently and has some new features. For better or for worse, here is the lowdown on the new version of the game.

For instructions on how to play the game the full rules are under the options menu of the game, or you could read my earlier hub (see link to the right) on how to play in the previous version of the app. Although the layout and tools are different in the new version, all the same rules, as well as hints and tips for better play still apply!

The dark version of the board available in the new customisation options
The dark version of the board available in the new customisation options | Source

What's new in Scrabble 2013?

If you had the previous version of Scrabble on your Facebook account then your app will be automatically updated. It is being rolled out across the board (pardon the pun), so you may have it already, or it could be on its way. You won't get much warning that it's about to happen, and any games that you were in the middle of will just disappear, along with all of your old game stats - this is a major reason why seasoned players of the old version are disappointed, they had all their high scores and game ranking wiped out, and have to start again from scratch.

The default appearance of the board is quite different, the classic board view has been replaced with a more simple board and modern style letters. However, there are customisation options that you might like to try out, some of which are free, and others that cost tokens. To turn off the labelling of the coloured squares (TW, DL etc) go to the Options menu and untick the box that says Display Bonus Squares. There are also choices of board colour; to go back to the colouring used in the original version you can choose the Legacy board, which is free. I have tried these options but every time I log out the settings have been lost when I log back in. Perhaps this will be fixed in time.

You can choose to play with one of your Facebook friends (if they have the app,) or against a random opponent chosen by the game server. In the old version you could choose from a list of available opponents, and base your choice on their game stats, or pick people you knew, but now you have no choice. This does have the advantage of filtering out any unsavory or predatory players that often popped up in the old version. The privacy of players is also protected by this change, as in the old version opponents could click on your player profile, and would get taken to your Facebook page where your Facebook settings were the only thing that could protect your privacy. This is definitely a plus.

Game length is now an open ended format where there is no time limit on turns. You cannot choose the length of the game any more (before you had a choice of 2 minute, 5 minute, 1 hour or 1 day turns). The exception to this is that if your opponent does not take their turn within 48 hours you will have the option to forfeit them, and will automatically win the game. The plus side of this is that you will not be penalised for being 5 minutes late taking your turn because you had a phone call or your network went down. The downside is that you may spend long hours waiting for your opponent to take their turn, when you only wanted a quick game in your lunchbreak!

The new lack of choice extends to difficulty level and number of players - these are fixed at 2 player games for random opponents and everybody is ranked equally when you start using the app. You can apparently choose to play 3 or 4 player games with your friends. It will be interesting to see if any more choices become available as the app matures, and whether you will be pitted against random players of equal ranking as time goes on.

New features

I don't want to rant on about what's not available any more - it always takes a bit of getting used to something new, and there are some new features that are a bonus.

There is a choice of dictionaries to use, you can choose from the official Scrabble dictionary, the Collins Scrabble dictionary or from certain foreign language dictionaries. You must of course be playing somebody who is using the same dictionary, for the sake of fairness. The unfortunate thing is that the dictionaries only tell you if your word is valid, but do not give you a definition of the word, which was a very useful educational feature in the old version - you could always learn something new, and must have been useful for people who were learning English.

A chat feature is still included, much the same, except your chat appears in speech bubbles with a choice of smileys.

The options include some customisation - as mentioned earlier some of this is free while other things will cost you if you think it is worth it! You can change sounds, colours, letter style and the level of advertising.

At the bottom of the screen the app will show your ranking against your friends, and gives you the option to invite your friends to play.

The dictionary opens from a button, and will tell you if your word is valid, as well as giving you a list of two-letter words.
The dictionary opens from a button, and will tell you if your word is valid, as well as giving you a list of two-letter words. | Source

What's your verdict?

Do you prefer the new version of Scrabble for Facebook?

See results without voting

You may love it or hate it. I was not impressed by my first attempt at using it, there were a several technical glitches, which is to be expected by any new software, but I feel that a lot of gameplay choices have been taken away from the player. After a few games I am now getting used to the format and where to find things. It is usable, but a lot of the intelligence has been taken out of the gameplay, and it is a less satisfying experience.

The only advantage that I can see from the new format is much greater privacy protection for the player, and a reduced risk of being preyed upon by undesirable users.

However, this new way of finding opponents means that a whole community of players who had spent years building up friendships and communities no longer have access to this, and are no longer able to find their regular opponents. I can understand why they are upset.

Try it out and see what you think, then come back and vote in my poll or leave a comment - I would love to know what other users make of it.

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Comments 40 comments

MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 years ago from The Caribbean

Haven't tried it yet, but I want to say thanks for introducing it and giving such helpful information. Thanks for sharing.


fay cash 3 years ago

Give us back the old scrabble, can't stand this one and neither can any of my 50 regular opponents!


Kate Clarke 3 years ago

The new scrabble is a dumbed down version of the old one. The old version supported an international community of sophistcated players and novices. This community has been shattered and this new Mattel version is an insult.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England Author

hi fay, I think this feeling is shared by many regular players. They seem to have abandoned many of the good features of the game, and introduced a lot of unnecessary annoyances. Hope it will sort itself out eventually and maybe we will get used to it.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England Author

Kate, thanks for your comment. "Dumbed down" is a good description, I agree. There is no longer any sense of community, and choices have been removed


Kate 3 years ago

I've posted this elsewhere, but I feel it is so very important... The impact of the change to a new "dumbed down" version on the serious Scrabble player is enormous. I, for one, as someone who's life has been affected by disability through a progressive medical condition, found Scrabble (as it was before the May 2013) to have been a lifeline. I resent the demise of our online Scrabble as we knew it. I resent and being patronised by a money-hungry corporation who obviously has hijacked the original version and forced he infantile "improved" version upon us. We serious players, both adult and young people, have lost a valuable social and educational form of recreation


karen 3 years ago

new scrabble is a brand new venue for pervs, many children play this game and especially now with the child like game boards, they have no option to choose who they play or view an opponents profile. A 14 yr old girl playing this game was matched with a man whose comments were vile and extremely sexual, imagine what a playground this app could be to men who want to groom children


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England Author

Karen, that is a perspective I hadn't considered. I felt that players were more vulnerable with the old version, but at least you had the choice of who to play before, and now I don't see any option to report abuse.


Hedy Carmody 3 years ago

We already had the "New" version available before the switch. It had the same logo as the one we have now. It was horrible, unhandy an absolutely no fun, but you had a choice and that is what we are missing. Sorry to say, but as far as I can see there's nothing stopping anyone from going onto your profile from the new one either. Why don't you rather use your time creating an app that can blacklist the pervs?


Elaine Brown 3 years ago

I wish people would quit suggesting that i may 'get used to the new version' I WON'T! I wish that idiots would just DO something now

to return it because there has been enough OBVIOUS mass negative feedback that this version is grim!! And if you can't see fit to return the new then at least bury the new one because its already DEAD in the water .....


Elaine Brown 3 years ago

Should have read as 'if you can't bring back the old then at least bury the new because it's already dead in the water....

A lack of Scrabble playing is affecting my ability to write!!!!!


Janice Helliwell 3 years ago

HATE the new childish version. Deleted the app after the first day. No way will i be restoring it.Can`t imagine why Mental think it`s improved!!!!!


julie rooke 3 years ago

The 'new' version is an insult to the intelligence of us Scrabblers and it has penalised a whole community who have lost their lifeline to the outside world, alienated people with mental health issues and taken away the only pleasure some people had. Congratulations Mattel - you have just succeeded in destroying an institution - hope you are proud of your greed!!


Judy Newton Peirce 3 years ago

I do not like how I cannot choose who I play with on this game. Let me tell you that a picture (and ability to access fb information from the old version) did indeed tell a 1000 words! Sadly there are people out there in scrabbled land who see the game as an opportunity for sex talk and naked photos of themselves and to inflict this upon others. I always used to screen my potential players and now I can't. Also no opportunity to report this kind of abuse or to turn off chat (as far as I can see). Also timed games were great as you could play a complete full game when it suited you - now this is no different than words with friends or any other game. You've lost your differentiating selling point!


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England Author

There certainly seems to be a lot of negative feeling towards this new game. Keep your comments coming - the more backlash there is about this, the more likely Mattel are to do something. Wouldn't it be great if they re-released the old version.


Sybelle Albrecht 3 years ago

I tried to play this version of the game and gave up in disgust, stopped playing and deleted the app. If you want to win the approval of the thousands of players you've alienated, you will have to make major changes to this game and incorporate functions of the old game - i.e. time limits, levels of expertise, a better board, no stupid talk bubbles, decent stats etc. etc. If you want to make money from the game, this is certainly not the way to do it!


Cat Roberts 3 years ago

We want the old Scrabble back unless it looks like that you'll get no vote from me.


violet wallace 3 years ago

the old game was much more enjoyable. this game wont let you choose who you want to play. there's no time limits. my favourite two minute game has gone. people start games and then stop playing, it leaves unplayed games piling up. there's no "force forfeit" button to get rid of them. please, please, bring back the old game, it was so much more enjoyable???? !!!!


Karen Russell 3 years ago

The new 'improved' version is shockingly bad. As I sit here with my coffee (in a K scrabble mug) I bemoan the fact I am no longer able to play what WAS an intelligent game with friends I made in the Scrabble Community!


Sandra 3 years ago

Bring back the old Scrabble. Lost my regular Scrabble friends. Deleted app after trying a few games. Total rubbish, bet you're losing thousands of players!


Elaine Brown 3 years ago

Ah how heavenly to wake up this morning to beautiful sunshine and feeling i'm feeling good .......

Then you remember!!!!!

Yes your beloved Scrabble was taken by idiot Pirates and forced to walk Mattel's flimsy ugly plank in the hope that it will never be seen again, but it balances on the very edge of that plank and will not fall without a fight, a fight to survive and come back to glorious and rapturous applause, because it knows that all around the world there are people who care so much for this classic and infectious little game.

Scrabble can feel the passion and intensity that has built since it was stolen and from it's little bag of letters it holds up high and proud the letters B E L I E V E ......


rastclot 3 years ago

This game as been ruined by wanna be nobodies who havnt got brains to play the original game so they destroy and run there bosses for a bonus .And because there boss is a prat hes pays the in kind lol


joan brackett 3 years ago

hate the new so sad its gone had so many good friends on there .


Karen Brutnell 3 years ago

This new version of Scrabble is inferior ... I would like the old version back for the reasons people have stated before especially with regard to being able to screen players. It was a dumb thing for Mattel to do ... come on guys recognise you were wrong to put it back as was including the stats which took sometime to create. Please note that Scrabble players do tend to be reasonably intelligent and do understand that the new benefits are not benefits.


Janice Probert 3 years ago

Please listen to us and bring back the old scrabble. I will never forget the brand name Mattel after this - will NEVER buy their products. They have affected my life.


Carol Young 3 years ago

Can anyone tell me why I wake up in the morning to find that I've lost a game that I was leading in and had only played a couple of words? The time lapse has only been overnight! My stats already look misleading and I find it very frustrating. I hate the lack of time option , ability to force forfeits and skill levels removed. Much preferred the original version, but SO love scrabble I'm trying to persevere!


karyn 3 years ago

Simply outraged by the stupidity of replacing a real game with this trash. Done with fb scrabble, pretty well done with fb and definitely done with mattel.


Stef 3 years ago

PLease return our scrabble. im in the middle of nowhere and depended on it


sindy boyle 3 years ago

timed games/no gimmicks..like the old scrabble


kath 3 years ago

we need to keep posting or Mattel & Facebook will think we have got accepted the new version, No No No so slow & as everyone else has said spoilt the enjoyment of going on each day completely.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England Author

I have posted this article with all of your comments to the Facebook Scrabble fan page. They'll probably remove it, but hope they take some notice. Good luck to all you unhappy players. All the best, Imogen (article author)


idigwebsites profile image

idigwebsites 3 years ago from United States

Oh, really (to unsatisfied users)? Haven't played the game in a while though. I'm gonna check that out and play and see the differences made there. Thank you all for the feedback. :D


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England Author

I have just modified this article to incorporate some of the strong feelings expressed by players, and also based on my own experience of the game, now that I have had a chance to try it out a bit more. There is a very strong backlash by lovers of the game, which is even making national news:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22905191


smithdoi 3 years ago

hate the new version. lost all old games and now, seems easy for someone to force my forfeit without me knowing. i cannot resest the BS stats. SUMMARY: games lost, BS players, can't reset stats.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

I haven't tried the new version--off to do so now!


Joserobertson123@btinternet.com 3 years ago

I spent hours playing the original scrabble alsomy 9 year old grandson,why oh why did you have to ruin the fun we used to have I can not make head or tale of it bring back the original please!!!!!!


Racquel 3 years ago

Is there a way to clear our stats ? thanks


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 3 years ago from Southwest England Author

Not that I can see Racquel - the only way I can think of is to cancel your Scrabble account and start a new one, but I'm not sure if that will work. They may remember your profile and keep your stats going. Another failing of the new version I think.


Me 2 years ago

You mention that there is a greater degree 0f privacy and safety but what can you do if someone starts 30 + games and you don't wish to play? If you nudge that prompts them to take their turn. If you delete that counts as a loss and quite a significant hit on one's statistics.

How do I get rid of these games please?


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 2 years ago from Southwest England Author

I think if you don't take a turn then you can cancel the game without it affecting your stats. To be honest the stats don't really count for much - I'd rather risk losing a few percentage points than be forced into a game I don't want to play.

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